Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Once Upon a Baby Blog Tour and Giveaway with Author Sheri Guess

For those who generally read this blog, you would have noticed by now that I prefer to keep the blog neutral, both politically and religiously. Having said that, I opted to host this tour because I support adoption and those who lovingly and willingly adopt.

Once Upon a Baby: A Tale of Adoption by Shari Guess

A heartwarming tale of LDS Adoption. Follow a child's journey from the Pre-existence to his family's home on Earth. The divine guidance of the Savior, along with the love and prayers of both birth and adoptive parents are gently and lovingly portrayed in this tender story of the ultimate "Happily ever after".

Praise for Once Upon a Baby . . .
"Shari Guess has written a "must read" for every LDS family. She made a relevant issue for our time seem simple, yet to the heart."
~Brenton G. Yorgason, PhD

"I cried grateful tears to finally find a book for our children that explains their unique place within our family in a spiritual way."
~Nancy Reynolds, CA

Get your copy!

An interview with the author . . .
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a restless soul, blessed in every way. I am a jack-of-all-trades and master of none! My interests range from classical music to metal and from nature-based activities to martial arts. The story of my life is stranger than fiction, but somehow I have lived to tell that story. I am blessed to be the wife of an incredible man and mother of an adopted 10-year-old son. I love the mountains, horses, dogs and travel, I want so badly to make a difference in the lives of those around me. I believe that is why we are here on this earth. I try to live life to the fullest and I want to go out saying ‘Wow! What a ride!’, leaving no stone unturned. 

What inspired you to write this book?
“Once Upon A Baby: A Tale of Adoption” was the story I wanted to read to my son but couldn’t find on the bookshelves. I felt there was a need for this story, so I wrote it.  I wanted my son to know that his place in our home didn’t happen by accident. It was the Lord’s plan for him to be here and everything in his life was by divine design. God doesn’t make second-class citizens! 

Did you plan to be a writer or did it just happen?
I never planned to write a children’s book, that is certain! Once I became an adoptive parent to this special boy it just kind of flowed out of me. The whole experience was such a miracle. I never liked kids much before I was a parent and easily might have chosen to remain child-less at one point. What a mistake that would have been! Being a parent has brought a whole new meaning to the word love. 

What is your favorite non-writing pastime?
You can find me anywhere in the mountains. Doing anything there is what I love to do, but Skiing, hiking, camping, s’mores and hot chocolate are some of my favorites. I grew up on top of a mountain in Evergreen, Colorado and my soul was left there when we moved.  

When did you decide to take that step that made you a published author?
When I couldn’t find this story and knew that it had to be written. I wanted adopted children to realize how special they were within the LDS (Mormon) context and belief system regarding the eternal nature of families.  

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?
I wrote for a very small market-on purpose, and don’t have a major publisher behind me. It has been difficult to get the word out since I’m not on the shelves at Deseret Book and Seagull (Prominent LDS Bookstores).  I started with a publisher that made a lot of promises that went unfulfilled so I took back the book. A lot of money and a lot of books later I’m now a self-published author working as hard as I can to let the LDS market know that the book exists. I expected more sales that would provide funds to help me continue to advertise and get the book out there. It’s been a slow start thought it has sold well for what it is.  A little at a time I believe I will get there. I’m not sure I’ve overcome all the obstacles yet, but I sure have planted a lot of seeds! I really appreciate all the support I’ve had thus far – including yours! Thanks so much-I’m honored!

Is writing a full-time career for you? If not, how else do you spend your work day?
It isn’t. In addition to being a mom I am a part-time real estate agent, a property manager and I care for my elderly mom who lives with us. We also maintain a small ranch that I manage. We’ve got gardens, critters, wildlife, livestock and you name it! This week I’m harvesting pecans! Lots on my plate but I love it! 

If you had to sum it up the book in 30 or less words, what would you say?
It is a fairy-tale version of a real child’s adoptive journey from the Pre-existence to the Celestial kingdom and illustrates that his place in his family was by divine design.  

What inspired the idea behind your book?
The real-life story of our child’s adoption.  

Do you have a favorite character in the book? Who and why?
Aside from my son, it would have to be “Froggie”. “Froggie” was the first gift that my son’s birth mother gave him in the hospital. Froggie makes regular appearances throughout the book. 

What message do you hope readers take away from the book? 
I hope that adoptive families will read this to their children so that they will know that they didn’t arrive in their family by accident or coincidence. They were always part of the family. They just came a different way!

What is your favorite scene in the book?
I love the end where the family all holds hands and runs for the rainbow. Every family has to live happily ever after in a fairy tale! That has to be the best part, as it’s what we’re all striving for!

What has been your greatest pleasure in writing this book?
 Personally seeing it touch the lives of families and children. Those genuine, unsolicited reviews are so special. I have also met a lot of amazing birth-mothers and been in a position to connect them with each other, along with amazing support groups just for them. It’s just nice to make a difference, however small. There have been many happenings surrounding the book that don’t have much to do with the book at all…you just know when you have the experiences that they are supposed to happen.   

Do you write your friends or family members into your books? If so, did they figure it out? 
 Since it is a story about our family I had to! Yes, they all knew right away who they were. Even one of our dogs is illustrated. 

Is there any place and time in the world and in history that you would like to visit?
I would love to go back to the Medieval ages – as royalty of course! Hopefully I wouldn’t be so outspoken that they would behead me or burn me at the stake. I love castles, knights and the beautiful horses of that time.   

If you had a chance to rewrite, is there anything about your book you would change?  There are a few points that weren’t doctrinally perfect that I could adjust. I would change the thickness of the interior pages and change the binding from saddle-stitch to perfect. These were all things I did not know about prior to the book’s publication. I wish that my publisher at the time had done a better job of informing me along those lines. 

What are you reading now? Why did you choose that book?
 “For All Eternity” by John L. Lund. I love non-fiction books of a spiritual nature. He delivers his subject well and with a good dose of humor. I like to read books that help me improve and make the most of this life I’ve been given. 

What challenges did you face in getting your first book published?  Finding an illustrator and having them finish what they started.

How long did it take to get this book from idea to being published? What was the most grueling process?  It took 7 years. The most grueling process was getting it from the publisher to print and then market. There were a lot of problems along the way. It wasn’t a marriage made in heaven to say the least and I am now a self-published author! It was unfortunate but definitely the right decision! 

What is your favorite movie based on a book, where you preferred the movie? Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I love the movie for all the visuals. I am also a big soundtrack girl.

Is there a book you’ve ever read more than five times? Which book and what drew you back to it?Jonathan Livingston Seagull”. I just love how hard that little seagull tried and I always champion the underdog. Many great lessons there!

If you could get anyone to read your book, who would you choose and why? President Thomas S. Monson – President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I actually believe that this has happened as a ‘little bird’ with a personal connection took it to him. He has several adopted grandchildren and I feel that the book might have meaning to him.

Favorite place? 
Evergreen, Colorado where I was raised.  

Favorite smell? 
Pine trees.

Favorite series? 
I loved the OZ books when I was younger. I also love Twilight and Harry Potter.

Favorite movie? 
Always. A Steven Spielberg film with Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter.

Favorite dish?  
Chips and Queso. Good queso. Of course!

Favorite color?  

Favorite quote? 
“I’ve heard it said that the Lord calms the storm and sometimes he lets the storms rage and calms his child” – John H. Groberg

Your best trait?  
I care a lot. I am a very giving person. 

Your worst trait? 
I wear my heart on my sleeve and trust too often. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your reader’s today? 
Thanks for taking the time to learn about the love behind “Once Upon A Baby: A Tale of Adoption”. I would really appreciate if you would share about this book with friends and family. It makes a great gift for adoptive parents, grandparents and birth parents. Christmas is coming…. =)

A Reader's Opinion
I strongly support adoption, so this was a fun little read for me. Right off I will tell you that the book is geared towards the LDS audience, so a few references may be lost on some readers, but the message is a sweet one written as a lovely picture book for all children of adoption. The message is clear, and the book could be read by enjoyed by any child who has been adopted or by any parent who has waited and waited for their dreams to be answered.

Author Shari Guess
SHARI GUESS is a proud, first-time children’s book author and lives in rural North Texas where she is “Mom” to her beloved 9-year-old adopted son, Garrett. Happily married to her husband Walter for going on 13 years they share their cabin-in-the-woods with a small herd of Great Danes and farm animals. Shari is currently a part-time real estate agent and property manager and prior to marriage worked for over a decade in the music business, spanning from Los Angeles to Nashville. She wore many hats as a journalist and publicist representing multiple recording artists, magazines and music publishing companies, along with being a part-time performing artist and songwriter. Her hobbies include choral, Americana and rock music, martial arts, photography, travel and anything in the mountains.

Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card + copy of Once Upon a Baby
Copy of Once Upon a Baby
(Book available to US & Canada only)
Ends 11/30/12
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


  1. What a great idea for a book:-) I strongly approve of adoption and actually have an adopted cousin. She is my absolute fav and I've always thought of her more as a sister. Great interview, ladies! And good luck with your book, Shari!

  2. Lovely message in the story Shari--nicely done. Thank you for joining us on your tour.